The NACTM has launched a program for youth soccer players ages 9-17 of Caribbean descent to be evaluated by an NACTM scout to potentially play for the national team of there descent. There are 14 countries, all English speaking in the Caribbean that the program will evaluate players to join: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Bermuda, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago. The idea came about when NACTM Director Justin Reid ran the TTFA Talent Identification program in 2020 where he and his staff of scouts helped to identify 8 players of Trinbagonian descent born in North America to play in the U-20 CONCACAF Women’s Qualifiers in February 2020. Due to their efforts, the TTFA women’s team made it to the quarterfinals eventually losing to Mexico.
Reid explains, “this program is important to help the entire CONCACAF region. The Caribbean has the most number of teams who compete in CONCACAF, but aside from Haiti, all of the other nations are weak links. So if we are going to help the best teams who come out of the CONCACAF region compete with UEFA, CONMEBOL, and the top federations in the world, then we have to strenghten the quality of the Caribbean.”
That will be a tall task as aside from improving the player pools in the various associations and federations in the Caribbean, they face many more institutional problems that could hinder the NACTM identification program.
“Although we want to help the Caribbean federations and associations, we also want to make parents aware that the level of professionalism in many of the federations and associations may be an issue for them. For many of the players who do make it to the player pool, it will be a culture shock, and it is important that we notify their parents that they can’t expect their child to have the same amenities as they do here in the U.S. and Canada. Parents will need to understand that their child is playing for the national team for international experience only, and everything else is what it is.”
The program has 5 clear and defined steps for a player who wishes to join a Caribbean federation’s player pool:
- An NACTM scout will come out to one of your league games/tournaments and evaluate your performance.
- If you are of a national team standard, then we will invite you to one of our nearby camps to be evaluated by our staff of coaches for a second evaluation.
- If you impress at the camp, then we will send your evaluation to the Caribbean federation of your descent. If you do not play your best during the camp and if our coaches feel that they will need to work with you a bit more, then we will recommend that you attend additional camps in the future.
- If the Caribbean federation believes that you are a good fit, then they will invite you to the island to train with the local players. If you impress during this camp, then they will more than likely add you to the player pool.
- Once you are added to the Caribbean federation’s player pool, then we will continue to monitor your progress with your club team and we encourage you to sign up for our camps as we are in continous direct contact with Caribbean federation technical staffs to learn more about what they are looking for in a player. This provides you the player with an advantage.
For any players looking to join the program, they can do so by clicking here.